Friday, November 08, 2013


The news that the Senate reached enough votes for a super majority (filibuster-proof) vote on the Employment Non Discrimination Act was good.  I am delighted that at least a few Republicans actually saw the reason behind this law, and the injustice it will correct.  However the ebullient comments from LGBT organizations and the breathless reporting from the new channels would have you believe that it will become the law of the land.  After all, the President said he would sign it. 

Wait just a darned minute; it still has to go through the House of Representatives.  If you forgot that old cartoon from School House Rocks about how a bill becomes law? Yes all this celebration, and it is worth celebrating, is a bit premature, since the current makeup of the house, and specifically the Tea Party Republicans will not even let ENDA come to the floor much less to a vote.

Listening to Speaker John Boehner’s rhetoric, you would think ENDA would bring about the Apocalypse complete with plagues and horsemen.  According to a spokesperson for the Speaker he believes, “this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.”  Then he went on to assert the incredulous statement that these protections are already covered under law.  Really?  And this coming from a lawyer?

Here is a little lesson on the law from a non-lawyer to Speaker Boehner.  Unless the protection is specifically spelled out and defined in excruciating detail in a law, it won’t hold up in court.  Courts do not like vague and nebulous statutes. That is why ENDA was created.  It specifically prohibits private employers with more than 15 employees from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  It exempts religious institutions who may decide that institutionalized hate and discrimination is part of their creed.  Hey, it’s a free country, except if you are LGBT.

Boehner knows ENDA is key to brining full equality to LGBT and he also knows the Tea Party, who is in control of the GOP right now, won’t stand for it. He knows if he brings it to a vote he will probably lose his position as speaker, and therefore he won’t bring it to the floor.

I hear people say there might be enough votes to pass ENDA in the House, but I have seen absolutely no evidence of that, and the commentators who say it don’t offer any facts.  The truth is, unless the small rabid right wing that has the House in its grip are not voted from office, there is no chance of ENDA going anywhere.

The cynic in me thinks that is why some GOP Senators felt safe in voting for it, knowing it was dead in the water. They can look reasonable without any repercussions.  It’s perfect positioning for a Senator who is trying to look moderate while maintaining the hard line of the Tea Party.

So meanwhile the GOP is laughing as they watch LGBT advocates and allies applaud themselves for getting so far with ENDA.  It is a laudable achievement, but ultimately the fate rests with a far-right fringe group who has the House in its grip.  These folks have no incentive to pass ENDA.  IN fact, doing so would most likely spell their demise back home in the sticks where their constituents cower in fear of the dangerous “gay agenda” still sends people running for their guns.  Those same folks can feel comfort that they are not racist homophobic bigots, but “true patriots” who simply want to take the country back. 

Back from what?  Well mostly back from the rest of the country.  These are the people who don’t understand that the days of white, straight, male privilege are over.  They long for the America of the 1950s, a simpler idyllic time in their minds. Of course none of them experienced those glory days as gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or black or Asian or Hispanic or Jewish or anything other than white, straight and Protestant.

I lived through the 1950’s and 1960’s and that idyllic veneer was an illusion.  Sadly, it’s the same illusion John Boehner is living in today.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Everyone should have an Auntie Mame.

Everyone should have someone in their life that lived outside the box, who is fabulous and fun but imbued with common sense.  Like the character Rosalind Russell portrayed in the 1950’s movie, Auntie Mame, they would be a person who no matter what, was intent on living life to the fullest. 

I consider myself luck to have had such an Auntie Mame in my life.  Her name was Melissa Caron, and she really was my aunt.  She had a very eventful life, and from the moment I met her she captivated me much in the way Mame captivated Patrick in the movie. 

Melissa had married a gambler named “Frenchy” Caron in the 1940’s and moved away from Dallas to the northwest.  There in Bremerton and later Seattle She and my uncle Frenchy operated a club and restaurant.  In reality it was a front for an illegal casino and with a military base nearby, they did very well.
My uncle unfortunately died of a heart attack leaving Melissa and her young son alone in Washington State.  His business partner, the local sheriff, tossed my aunt out on her ear and so she had to reinvent herself.

She sold much of her jewelry and furs to finance a move to Southern California where she and my cousin Michael found a small apartment in Brentwood, long before it was the trendy spot it is now.  She got a job at a local pharmacy as a clerk and on the side she took photos for the local society news.  That gave her entrance to meet the glitterati of Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  I have a trunk filled with her photos that I must someday scan and put online.

By the 1950’s she was making a comfortable living, now managing the gif department of the Brent-Air Pharmacy.  That’s when I first made a visit to meet her.  My parents took me on a cross country driving vacation in December of 1957 to California.  We saw the newly minted Disneyland, Marine Land of the Pacific, and stayed with Melissa.  I had just seen the movie Auntie Mame in Dallas before we left and when I arrived at Melissa’s “Chinese modern” apartment I was sure I was on the set of the movie! 

She greeted us in a flowing Chinese robe, smoking a gold filtered cigarette in a long cigarette holder.  She was Auntie Mame!

The room was decorated for the holidays and not to be understated, she had a big black flocked Christmas tree decorated with gold bows and lights.  Even her dog, a miniature poodle was decked out in seasonal attire. In that one day, she swept me off my feet and into her whirlwind, and I will never forget it.
That night there was a party at her place and there I met my first gay men. They were very effeminate and much like Melissa, fabulous!

Later in the week we visited her friends, and she showed me off like a prize.  I distinctly remember  a party at Gary Crosby’s house where I met Bing’s son and many entertainers who I had only seen on TV.  Again, fabulous.

Melissa remained a part of my life, even from far away in California.  She would visit my mom in Dallas occasionally and we would visit her in California on a semi-regular basis.  She was very progressive, liberal minded and opinionated and though she was never rich, she always lived with a of touches of extravagance that kept up her image.

Years later, she befriended an aging neighbor, and took care of much of her daily chores.  She helped her pay bills, shopped for her and many other kindnesses that I took note of.  She did it not expecting anything in return.  She did it because it is what you do for friends.  Great lesson!

One day, her friend fell ill and was hospitalized.  She never recovered, and that’s when Melissa was contacted by a lawyer.  Seems her neighbor, Gladys, was wealthy though she lived very modestly in a small apartment.  In her will she left most of her property to Melissa, property including blue chip stocks, bonds and all her possessions.  While cleaning out her apartment she found a stash of jewelry in her drawers that most people would keep in a bank vault.  Suddenly Melissa was well-to-do!

She promptly retired from her Pharmacy job and bought a house in Las Vegas and began the third phase of her life, that of wealthy socialite.  Again, much like Auntie Mame, she rebounded with panache and soon became a fixture in the Vegas  civic scene. 

Not to belabor the story, but again she showed me how to live life to the fullest, and take whatever came her way in stride and do it with style.  Long since she passed away, her memory still lives with me.

She was fond of one of Auntie Mame’s lines in the move, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!  You’ve got to live, live, live!”

That advice is something I always remember, and for that I always thank my Auntie Mame.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Weiner's Weiner and America's Closet

When Anthony Weiner was exposed for showing his “Little Oscar” in a text message, the press had a field day.  Granted a lot of it was because of his name and the all too obvious puns, but a lot of it has to do with our double standard we have in this country.  We live by one standard and are incensed by the invasion of privacy when someone talks about our sexual adventures, but for politicians it’s open season!

Now let me clarify something.  I am not talking about closeted public servants who actively work to suppress the rights of one sexual minority while secretly engaging in the same practice.  Because of their hypocrisy I think that makes them fair game.  The same holds true for candidates who claim high moral ground, opining about the “sanctity of marriage” and parade under the banners of “family values”, only to engage in serial affairs and get caught with their pants down, sometimes literally! 

I am talking about this illusion we have that our politicians are somehow above sex.  We as a country seem to believe that sex is some sort of dirty activity and politicians should be chaste.  We treat them like priests and if recent news shows anything, even priests are not chaste.

The whole thing boils down to our country’s strange attitude toward sex in general.  We can’t seem to talk about it like adults and we treat the subject with snide remarks or adolescent humor rather than take it seriously.  They truth is we are all engaging in it in one way or another so what is the big deal?

The big deal is most likely the long history of suppressed sexuality in the United States.  As far back as our Puritan forefathers control of sexual activities has been used by religious groups.  I could be quick to lay our repression exclusively at the feet of religion, but I believe it goes further than that. 

I suspect once the practice of psychoanalysis got going in the US we began to pathologize sexuality.  From the early work of Krafft-Ebing in the late 1800’s anything that varied from the “norm” was categorized as deviant.   Subsequently these deviant behaviors were given names and Bingo, new “diseases” were created!  Since our country is very much fascinated with rules and lists, these new classifications were tailor made for those prone to fear mongering.

It is during that time that the term “homosexual” came into common use and I believe both the scientific and religious communities embraced it along with anything else that a Latin moniker could be slapped on.  After all if you could justify it with not only science but a few lines from the Bible, then it had to be something to be monitored and controlled.

At some point we, as a country are going to have to face the fact that we need to learn to talk about sex as adults.  That means putting aside the shame and guilt about anything sexual and give serious consideration that every one of us is a sexual being every bit as much as we are human beings, it is part of our nature.  And I understand it will be uncomfortable for some folks, but that is most likely because they have denied that part of themselves for their whole lives.  Not that they haven’t had sex, just they have conveniently compartmentalized it and relegated it to a secret place even they are afraid to go.

I am not a psychologist, but I am very much human, and I found out long ago that to live a full and whole life, I had to accept and embrace my sexuality.  We have to give the same respect to every other human being.  The acknowledgement that they are also sexual beings like us and therefore having sex is part of their lives is essential.  We have to stop expecting people just because they are in the public eye to stop having sex, in whatever form they might have it. 

I can hear the shouts of protest about sports figures and celebrities, “they are role models”.  Well, if they are role models only when they are chaste and pure, and essentially sexless, we are setting a very strange example for future generations.  They will grow up with the same guilt and shame issues we have and perpetuate that on their children as well.

Healthy sex, consensual sex, even kinky sex if not the issue.  The issue is being able to admit that our humanity includes all of that and unless it is actively harming someone it’s most likely just part of human nature.  We can continue to behave one way but expect others to adhere to stricter and in fact unhealthy restrictions, or we can face facts and get over it.

Sex is the big closet that our whole country has been in, and like those of us in the LGBT community, we found coming out of the closet liberated us from a lot of guilt and shame.  We America, It’s time to come out!

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Was A Pre-Teen Terrorist

OK, I confess.  I was a pre-teen terrorist!  Well not really. However, what I used to do as a kid would today get me arrested and possibly charges with federal crimes.  How our world has changed, and not for the better.

After hearing a story of a busload of kids being surrounded by a SWAT team and frisked, because one of them had a cap-gun, it became evident that childhood is a dangerous place today, if you're a kid.

As a child, I was inquisitive and it has led me not to a life of crime, but to a life-long intellectual curiosity.  That should be considered a good thing and it sould be encouraged in our kids and in the adult population as well.  A nation without any intellectual curiosity becomes just a country full of human sheep, being led from one crisis to another, willing to give up their freeom and critical thinking in the name of security.

Here is my story or confession if you will.  I was eleven or twelve when I really became fascinated with fireworks.  Like most kids my age (this is back in the dark ages of the 1950's and 1960's when fireworks were still legal) I enjoyed my share of firecrackers and bottle rockets, and unlike the horror stories, neither me nor any of my friends ever lit our house on fire or blew a finger off.  We were taught by our parents how to light and respect fireworks.

My fascination went far beyond the noise of firecrackers. I liked the sparkly stuff, the fountains and rockets that exploded with showers of star and sparks.  I wondered exactly how they worked and what went on inside them, so I did what any curious kid would do. I went to the library.  For those who don't remember, a library is one of those places with lots of books...made of paper.

There I found a British publication from the 1930's titled "A Chemical Formulary" and within it's pages was a whole chapter on fireworks.  It detailed the construction and more importantly the formulas for the showers of sparks and the stars the shot out of everything from Roman Candles to Professional mortars that shot hundreds of feet into the sky.  I was fascinated and I decided I needed to try my had at making them.

My dad was a scientist, and working in a major institution he had access to lots of chemicals, so I made a list of what I needed and asked him to buy them for me.  He was delighted with my interest in things scientific, so he agreed, not knowing the end results of my experimentation.  It was for "A Science Fair Project" was the standard answer.  (In reality it did turn into a science fair project and I won a blue ribbon for it!)

Soon I had jars of the same chemicals from the book and I began to combine them in very small quantities.  I was not an idiot.  I had see how powerful fireworks could be so I erred on the side of caution.  Any work I did was done outside the house, far enough away that any accidents wouldn't result in burning the place down.

I learned how to make pyrotechnics that burned different colors.  For red I used strontium, for green I used barium chloride, blue was copper chloride and silver was aluminum powder and so on.  These were mixed with oxidizers like potassium chloride and perchlorates and the like.

What I achieved was pretty impressive.  Brightly colored flares from the burning compounds that rivaled the colors of the commercial fireworks I bought at the stores.  I never got to the point of building shells, since these took much more chemicals than I had and lots of time and something called "gum arabic" which I had yet to find. 

The whole thing ended when I was testing a version of a fountain.  It was filled with a mixture of various chemicals and aluminum power and was supposed to spray bright white sparks into the air in a delightful fountain.  I had rolled the paper tube myself, packed the ingreedients and sealed it with the proper material that held the fuse. 

I mounted it on a sturdy wooden base and the lit the fuse and got safely away.  The fuse sputtered and vanished into the tube.  As I watched the sparks began to shoot out the end.  My joy was quickly interrupted by what I can only assume was a very loud explosion.  I saw the flash and felt a slight shock wave and then nothing.  I was temporarily deaf from what must have been a really loud bang.  I tried to talk and heard nothing.  my lips moved but no sound.  I was scared and panicky.  I quickly rounded up all the chemicals and tucked them away fearing the wrath of my parents.  Luckily neither of them was home. 

Soon I heard a slight ringing, and then dogs barking and then a whole ocean of sound as my hearing returned.  I sat down and waited until my heart rate returned to a semblance of normal.  Then, I assessed the situation.  I must have packed the mixture too tightly into the tube, or made the opening too small and the result was a big explosion instead of a shower of pretty sparks.  Such a small difference in construction and such a big and unexpected result. 

Later I decided to keep my research to theoretical and not empirical.  Also, no one except me apparently knew what happened.  No police showed up, no neighbors complained.  I guess they thought it was one of the sonic booms we heard regularly from the nearby Naval Air Station jets.

Today, there would have been lots of notice, and the resulting investigation would have found I possessed bomb making material and had conducted tests of explosives.  I wold have ended up in juvenile detention or worse and my dad would have lost his position as professor. 

So what changed between then and now?  Well, we could point to 9/11 and be assured it would be the stock answer that justified any kind of over the top reaction by authorities.  In reality it is the media, and specifically what passes as news that has brought us to where we are today.  IN the name of keeping us informed they have numbed us with endless images of terrorist events that burn them indelibly into your memory, and more than that they replay them over and over ad-infinitum to make sure we remain scared.  A frightened audience will stay glued to the TV and that means money to cable news.  It also means money to politicians who take legalized bribes from defense contractors and security firms.  They use the fear to keep us pliable and ready to sacrifice our freedoms for the assurance that we are safe.  That safety means the strange ability to buy a gun without a background check but the inability to buy a sparkler legally in our city and chemistry sets?  Well they don't include the "dangerous stuff" anymore.

We have got it backwards in the country.  We arm everyone (88 guns per 100 people at last count) and then we keep them stupid and uneducated. 

Granted, I was a bit reckless, and I could have lost my hearing or worse.  What I learned was very valuable.  Don't mess around with things that might be too powerful for you to control!  I never injured myself permanently from my experiments again, and I learned caution.  So being what today would be considered a "junior terrorist" was in 1961 creating an award winning science fair project.

I still miss having the right to shoot fireworks safely and sanely, guess I will have to be content to shooting guns?  Go figure?

Friday, May 03, 2013

A Specter of Death - Gay Concentration Camps - for Real!

The photo made me shiver.  The boy in the picture could have been a survivor of Auschwitz.  Pale, skeletal and his life slipping away, Raymond Buys, 15, was clinging to life while hooked up to feeding tubes and medical devices, but they were not enough.  Buys died, his body having suffered burns, broken bones and malnourishment finally succumbed, and all because he was gay.

Yes the nightmare scenario of “camps” for gay men is no nightmare, it is real in South Africa.  There a “general” was convincing parents to send their gay or effeminate young teems to his Echo Wild Game Rangers training course to turn them into “men”.  Instead he turned several into corpses.

Now, “general” Alex De Koker and his assistant Michael Erasmus  will stand trial for murder, child abuse and neglect. Sadly since 2006 De Koker has been bilking parents out of thousands of dollars in his twisted ex-gay therapy.  Even worse he has injured or killed several boys after chaining them to their beds and torturing them.

To be sure there will be more murder charges and South African justice will prevail by putting these two monsters away forever. The saddest part of the story is that parents would subject their children to torture and starvation to try to change who they are.

Since every form of “reparative therapy” for gay men has been shown to be ineffective and downright fraudulent, it is sad that these parents didn’t get the message.  To try to lay blame for this is difficult, but I would suspect that these misguided parents had been listening to some hate filled rhetoric, and I would not be surprised if it wasn’t coming from right-wing evangelicals. 

The same folks who spread the hate filled message against LGBT people here in the United States have taken their “Bad News” overseas to more receptive audiences.  Africa has been exceptionally fertile for their efforts though most notably in Uganda with its institutionalized homophobia.   To find this madness in South Africa, a nation with one of the most progressive attitudes toward LGBT people, is alarming.  The idea of “camps” for gay teens conjures up images of the kind of solutions proposed by the right-wing in our country when the AIDS crisis first hit.  That horrific idea did not go away though, instead it has been resurrected by people like North Carolina pastor Charles Worley who actually called for putting “all the lesbians and queers” in concentration camps. 

These kinds of messages do not happen in a vacuum.  In the age of YouTube this hatred gets spewed worldwide and reinforces the fear some parents have that their children will turn out gay.  It is a second front in the culture wars for the fundamentalists.  They have long been active in Africa and now they are characterizing the progress made by LGBT people in the US as a new imperialist threat to “African family values”.  People like mega-church pastor, Rick Warren and holocaust revisionist, Scott Lively are pumping their propaganda into Africa with renewed intensity and now it seems to have made it all the way south.

As Afrikaans buy into this misguided message it is not surprising that cases like this might pop up, but it is a sad commentary on the extent of the collateral damage from the culture war in the US that the right-wing is so fiercely waging.  Their battle in the US is a losing one, but there is still fallout overseas. 

The real “good news” is that these monsters are being brought to justice. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Re-targeting" and the Creepy Side of Marketing Online

As a marketing guy, I am familiar with a slew of techniques that are used by companies to get their message to potential customers.  It's one of the basic goals of marketing and it's the bedrock of doing business with consumers.

I have no problem with it because I see it as a service.  I make my company's products and services visible to potential customers in appealing ways that entice them to do business with us.  It's honest and straightforward.

Online things should be the same way, but recently internet marketers have moved into the grey area of "re-targeting" and "interactive marketing".  I see this as grey because it potentially violates the implied privacy of individuals online.  Here is an example.

I am an out gay man, no surprise there.  I recently looked for a gay-friendly guest house for one of my trips out of town.  Google efficiently found it for me and I booked a room for a weekend away.

Suddenly, on Facebook, I am getting ads for gay guest houses and the male version of Victoria's Secret underwear and even more NSFW stuff. Saw what?  If I were in the closet at work, anyone who saw that screen would figure I was gay, effectively outing me electronically.

My search on Google was tracked and compared to my Facebook profile as well as the profiles of all of my friends and at the speed of light, a BIG DATA computer crunched that I am gay and therefore would like seeing ads for skimpy men's underwear and suggestive ads.

Kinda creepy, huh?  Now the fallacy of this kind of mindless targeting is that first of all, I don't wear that kind of underwear, if I did I would look like the Hindenburg in a g-string.  Additionally, I do not make a habit of staying in guest houses.  I prefer hotels with all their amenities.  Two strikes for the "re-targeting" algorithm.  What's more is the fact that since I have such a variety of "friends" on Facebook, the assumptions the interactive marketing made are myriad.

The overall impression is that marketers are eavesdropping on everything I do, and they are.  Privacy on the internet is an illusion, every click is tracked and analyzed by someone looking to sell you their product.  This is the big difference in interactive marketing and real-time marketing.

At a mall, I may browse a lot of stores, but the clerks don't follow me around and whisper their message in my ear whenever I stop at a competition's window.  They don't track me down and try to persuade me to by that shirt I passed up at their shop, if they did I'd most likely call the cops or just slug them.

Online, the rules apparently change.  Just a word to the wise.  If you want to have some fun, browse through sites with products and services you would never use in a million years.  Watch the marketing bots try to sell you stuff you don't want.  They aren't going away any time soon, so you might as well screw with them and enjoy it!

Friday, January 25, 2013


In 1979, I left my footprints on the National Mall during the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights and listened to speakers from Troy Perry  to Allen Ginsberg  make the case our civil rights.  It gave me hope.  How could the President and Congress ignore the hundred thousand plus men and women who marched to the capitol to demand equality?

But President Carter did ignore us, and so did Congress.  In fact we have been pretty much ignored in the oval office until now.  In his second inaugural speech, President Obama not only acknowledged our struggle, he linked it to the great civil rights struggles of the past.  In one sentence he cut through the years of neglect and put our fight in perspective.

“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths —- that all of us are created equal —- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”

In case the listener was not a student of history and didn’t recognize those three watershed events in the struggle for equality President Obama reiterated the point.

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

Finally, a president “gets it”!   The women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement and LGBT rights are part of the same struggle.  It is acknowledgement that we as LGBT Americans are no longer set apart, we do not seek “ special rights” any more than every other American. 

His nod to same-sex marriage will no doubt have weight in the upcoming Supreme Court cases that contest the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.  The court will no doubt take into account the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and the endorsement of the President.  They do not act in a vacuum.

Apparently the President does not act in a vacuum either.  I know that like many folks in the LGBT community, I had been disappointed that President Obama had not pushed harder for LGBT rights.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but still was impatient for more action.  Most people recall the kerfuffle of having homophobic preacher, Rick Warren at the first inauguration.  Many will also recall that candidate Obama openly affirmed that marriage was “between a man and a woman” and he was against “gay marriage”. 

Things change.  In May of last year he stat4ed in an interview on ABC, “…over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."

And now, in the inaugural address, he makes it abundantly clear that equality will be a big part of his second term in office.  

It is heartening to see that those footsteps of LGBT people who marched on the National Mall in 1979, 1987, 2000 and in 2009 have not been blown away by the political winds that scour Washington .  President Obama, by acknowledging  those “footprints along this great Mall” not only gives a nod to LGBT rights, he gives me hope that I will live to see those rights become the law of the land.

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Great Gun Hard-On

I usually don't get blatantly sexual with my posts, but today is different.

Let's get honest for a minute.  If you listen closely to the rhetoric around the idea of an assault weapon ban, you hear a lot of hyperbole and just plain silly arguments on both sides.  But to be honest, the underlying love affair with assault weapons comes down to sex and more specifically "machismo".

I have been to a few gun shows in my time and when I see people, specifically men,  handling weapons like the AR-15 I see their whole body language change.  For me their stance gets wider, they stand taller and display a noticeable swagger.

Their speech is also a give-away.  You never hear a guy describe an assault rifle as "well balanced", "precision" or even "well designed".  The first words are usually "awesome", "bitchin" or "day-um". They speak of these guns with emotional terms and that tells a lot.  The assault rifles are not guns to them as much as they are big, deadly extensions of their manhood.  I have even heard the phrase, "who's the man?" when someone handles these guns.

America's love affair with semi-automatic weapons is driven by marketing, popular media and the gun lobby who equate powerful weaponry with manhood.  They might as well say, "it takes a big dick to handle this gun!"  America has a hard-on for deadly weapons. 

This mental erection has no basis in statistics.  The facts are that since semi-automatic weapons were legalized, the country has become less safe.  Gun deaths continue to climb and no one seems willing to state the obvious except Bill Moyers when he stated that America seeks no, "redemption from its fetish with guns, its romance with the free market of violence."

The whole argument about assault weapons and the 2nd Amendment are a diversion.  Americans want these guns so they can feel potent and "manly".  It is just a manifestation of the whole machismo thing and the price is the deaths of thousands of people a year.  It's time for this to stop.

It's high time we got honest and found another way to bolster our national case of penis envy.  A country that cannot talk in an adult and mature way about sex, finds other outlets.  We have chosen guns, lots and lots of guns.  My suspicion is that if we had a healthier attitude toward sex, and could honestly talk about it with each other, then showing off our big guns would have less meaning.

If you don't believe me, go to a gun show and watch for a while.  You will soon understand and be as appalled as I am.